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A Report on The Life and Legacy of Jane Addams

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“Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpected effort that might have saved the world”- Jane Addams. This quote means for a person to give up too soon is worst because you never know if you could have been one effort closer to whatever it is that may save the world. It’s better to continue to stick it out and keep moving forward because it can never be too late. Jane Addams was an important and influential figure in American history that had a positive impact on the world because she was an instrumental figure in the progressive era. The progressive era was a period of social activism and political reform throughout the United States. During women’s suffrage she pushed for women’s voices to be heard. Addams was apart of the effort that saved the world for women to have the right to vote also paved the way for women’s voices to be heard. She is now known as the mother of social work.


Jane Addams was born on September 6, 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois. She was born the eighth child to the parents of John Huy Addams and Sarah Weber. Although her parents had nine children only 4 survived to adulthood. Jane knows little to nothing about her mom because she passed when she was only of a young age. Much of her father is known as a very important man. He was a senator and a businessman for the state of Illinois, one of the founders of the republican party also known to have a close association with Abraham Lincoln. As a child, Jane’s father was an important role model to her because much of his philosophy of civic engagement resembled her own later down the line when she soon started her own choice of career. Her father supported many things such as temperance and abolition but did not support women’s suffrage.

Beginning of career

Jane attended Rockford Female Seminary where she later graduated from the same institution a year after it became Rockford College. Following her father’s death she became deeply depressed and suffered from severe health issues. Much of her father’s moral compass crystallized her path to settlement work. The peak of her career began while on her travels with a college friend to London. Her visit to the settlement house Toynbee Hall influenced her to recreate a similar social service model in Chicago. Toynbee Hall itself was created to achieve social change in London’s east end by placing the rich to live and work as volunteers there. Toynbee Hall efforts brings the rich face to face with poverty and gives them the opportunity to develop solutions for social reform. Jane successfully released Hull House named after its builder Charles Hull. Hull house is a settlement home located on the near West Side of Chicago, Illinois where it was overrun by poverty. Hull House is important because it provided much opportunity and all kinds of services to the poor, many of whom were arrived European immigrants and its surrounding neighborhoods. Services as far as education, healthcare, childcare services and so forth were offered to the immigrants to share culture, knowledge, help alleviate poverty and integrate immigrants into American society. Hull house also became a safe haven for immigrants to find companionship and support they needed. Along with other middle class volunteers that lived there had paid rent and contributed to the services for immigrants, Jane lived and worked in Hull house until her death in 1935. However to become who she is Jane had to overcome societies role for women; to cook, clean and bare children. She lived in a time where a womens rights or voice didn’t matter.

Significant accomplishments

Hull house was Jane’s most significant accomplishment. It challenges society to create a better world not; only for Americans; through peaceful means. Hull house was the first settlement house in America. She was then recognized for her pioneering in social work with a Nobel Peace Prize also the first American woman to receive one. Four months after serving chairman of the women’s peace party she accepted presidency for the International Congress of Woman. 1905-1909 Jane served as a member of the Chicago Board of Education. In 1909 she helped found the NAACP and elected the first woman president of the National Conference of Socialwork. Her accomplishments benefited others and paved the way for other organizations, social reformers and women to shape the America we live in today.

Impact on America

Jane Addams reputation is known as America’s most prominent women through her writings, her settlement work and her international efforts for peace. America is different because of people like her that simply show they care about other health, well-being, life. People like her that are placed in this world fight for change and overcome obstacles. People like her make tomorrow a better day for immigrants who want freedom, struggling people in poverty, children who need guidance and women who want a voice. Despite her shortcomings of depression from her father’s death and battling sickness little did she know she would become internationally respected for peace activism. 

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